In the original run of The Hickoids from 1984 to 1991, the band that Trouser Press aptly nailed as displaying a “winningly sociopathic outlook” probably should have been institutionalized. After two decades (and one hiatus) The Hickoids are now an institution, cult legends in fact: cheeky Dadaist punk-country pioneers who command respect for not just what they forged in the past, but for their Keith Richards-like party resilience and this new album, which finds them at the top of their game. Hairy Chafin’ Ape Suit underscores what the Austin Chronicle observes of The Hickoids, Version 2: “They sound as big and bad as ever.” The CD hits stores August 20th, the vinyl LP arrives September 19th. The Hickoids have a plethora of gigs (posted below) – hear music from the album here.
The 10 song set begins with the psychedelic rock’n’roll squall of “Fruit Fly,” followed a full-out balls-to-the-wall blast, “TJ,” that’s something of an echo from the past, its first snippet written at the tail end of Hickoids V.1 by singer and primary songwriter Smith and his hermano de musico Pepe Lopez of Dallas’s Loco Gringos “on a three stringed guitar while romancing two young ladies one night.”
Yeah, there’s the country the band has always sent up and mutated as well as bowed to in honor on the loping and crackling shuffle “You Kneed Me” (inspired by drunken fistfights on the road), the Waylon on crank march of “If Drinking Don’t Kill Me, Kill Me,” and “Side By Side Doublewides” (a romantic survival guide written and sung by Hickoids guitarist Davy Jones). But one also gets seduced by the punky yet authentic proletarian blues of “Working Man’s Friend” and wailing ode of “Talking Hot Pants Blues” – both tributes to late ’80s band bassist Dick Hays that shine a strobe light on Jones’s six-string ferocity.
The Hickoids don’t just nab and adapt styles but also mate roots sounds to serve the combo’s perverse purposes. They mash-up cheesy Tejano pop and picturesque old-school Texan steel guitar on “Cool Arrow”, and closing track “Mo’ Hair” has the greasy Southern soul groove and feel of a boozy summit of Mick’n’Keef and the brothers Allman down in Muscle Shoals. And the cover songs on this outing that the band makes their own are from pals and peers: Opener “Fruit Fly” from the notorious Loco Gringos, and the garage punk punchfest of “Stop It (You’re Killing Me)” borrowed from the group’s San Antonio scene mates The Happy Dogs taking the libido down to that city’s lost but legendary punk temple Tacoland.
As writer Greg Beets summarized in the Austin Chronicle, “Alternately categorized as ‘cowpunk’ and ‘hard corn,’ The Hickoids embodied a most extreme synthesis of punk and country during their mid-’80s Austin reign. The quintet’s beer-splashing, bale-thrashing, genital-brandishing performances bore all the confrontational hallmarks of punk, yet they actually won Best Country Band at the 1985 Austin Music Awards.”
The original conception, as singer and primary songwriter Jeff Smith recalls it, was “Gary Stewart meets Black Flag with psychedelia and glam thrown in.” It’s a safe bet it won’t take them a quarter century as it did this time to finally record a follow-up. Then again, it is The Hickoids, whose motto could be that you simply never know what’s going to happen. And that, folks, is a big part of the magic of the band and their music that keeps it all as fresh and vibrant as ever at three decades and counting.
Fri Aug 23rd w/ The Beaumonts, Poor Dumb Bastards – Rudyard’s Pub – Houston
Fri Aug 30th w/ Churchwood, El Pathos – Hole In The Wall – Austin
Sat Aug 31st w/ Blowfly – Tequila Rock Bar (@Backstage Live) – San Antonio
Thu Sep 12th – The Lost Well – Austin
Fri Sep 13th w/ Loco Gringos, The Beaumonts, etc J & J Blues Bar – Ft. Worth
Sat Sep14th “White Trash Bash” w/ The Beaumonts, etc – The Blue Max – Midland
Sun Sep 15th 4pm w/ The Beaumonts – Bad Bob’s Bend Store – Bend
Sat Sep 21st 10pm w/ The Beaumonts -Triple Crown – San Marcos
Sat Sep 28th 10pm – Hitones – San Antonio, TX
Sun Sep 29th 4pm – Tex Pop – San Antonio, TX (live video session)
Saustex & the Hickoids present the 4th Annual Austin Corn Lover’s Fiesta (all support TBA)
Fri Oct 4th – The Longbranch Inn Saturday October 5th – Infest – w/ David Yow, Honky, El Pathos and much more ( benefit for Gary Floyd of the Dicks) – Austin
Fri Oct 11th – Hole In The Wall – Austin
Sat Oct 12th – The White Horse -w/ The Beaumonts, Churchwood – Austin
Fri Oct 18th – w/ The Beaumonts – Riley’s Tavern – Hunter (New Braunfels), TX
Sat Oct 19th – 5pm The Continental Club – Austin, TX (Jerry Clayworth fundraiser)
Sat Oct 19th – w/ The Flamin’ Hellcats – Rudyard’s Pub – Houston, TX
Sun Oct 20th 3pm- Outlaw Dave’s World HQ Jaime Hellcat’s Hotrod Show & Rodeo – Houston, TX